Whilst the nation’s capital is a stimulating place to live and work, for the estimated 1.8 million dogs that reside in London finding dog friendly pubs, bars and restaurants can drive their owners barking mad.
WagIt is the brainchild of entrepreneur Nadia Leguel and mummy to Lola - her ten year old King Charles Cavalier. “As an experienced dog owner and London resident, I’m passionate about making things simple for people who have a dog in their lives. This was my inspiration for developing WagIt – essentially an online service that brings together dog friendly businesses with dog owners.”
Just four months from WagIt’s launch in June 2020, Nadia was invited onto the BBC’s Dragons’ Den programme. The Dragons loved the concept and whilst they did not ultimately invest in WagIt, they gave Nadia feedback that she immediately implemented, including expanding the business beyond London to reach the UK’s 12.5 million dog owners.
“When the BBC show aired things just rocketed. The website received 34,000 hits on the night and my followers, both consumer and business, tripled overnight. I spent an entire month just replying to emails, listing new venues and managing new bookings. The Den has brought so much exposure that now I need to employ people to help me, but don't have the money! A double-edged sword…It’s like I won a Porsche but didn't have money to fill it with petrol!”
Nadia continues to build an online portal for both users and suppliers - for businesses that want to attract dogs and their owners - be they pubs, restaurants, hotels and bars, or dog specific businesses such as groomers, trainers and walkers. Today, Gordon Ramsey restaurants, Gaucho, Hilton Hotels, are just some of the companies bookable on the platform and the private hire cab company Addison Lee chose WagIt as its exclusive partner for their dog bookings.
Naturally WagIt banks with Metro Bank, the high street bank famous for its love of dogs. Metro Bank has always welcomed four legged VIPs and each store is complete with water bowls for dogs, complimentary dog treats and every dog who visits gets a branded Metro Bank bandana. Metro Bank also offers business owners access to its Local Business Managers and Local Directors who are in store solely to support entrepreneurs with advice on funding and access to networking and mentoring. “I am really excited to have joined Metro Bank...and so is Lola. It makes such a difference to know I can pop in when I am walking around with Lola rather than to have left her home and then rush home. Yesterday, when I met Sam, my Local Business Manager, I could take the time to ask questions and review the partnership knowing Lola was snoring by my side. After enjoying some freshwater from your pawsome doggy bowls! I loved that Sam brought water for Lola before me!”
Wagit was oversubscribed for its first round of funding in 2021 and Nadia is working with Metro Bank to secure her next round of funding, which will be used to improve both the product offering and to expand the team to meet the ever increasing demand.
Nadia is also working with Bridgeen her Metro Bank Local Director. “I feel Metro Bank and WagIt have the same ethos and outlook on life. Bridgeen has been super helpful, introducing me to some individuals that could be key for me and for WagIt. I am looking forward to many successful years ahead with Metro Bank and strengthening our partnership.”
Nadia’s ambition is unrivalled. “We want to build a loyalty scheme to drive repeat customers and build a top dog app that will become a household name for dog parents.”